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Thursday, October 14, 2010

A book suggestion from a hypnotist

As part of my day job for an Ohio newspaper, I interviewed a Port Clinton medical hypnotist named David Prudhomme, who fascinated me with his discussions about hypnotism, neurolinguistic programming and other mind-programming techniques that I had heard about via Robert Anton Wilson. (Prudhomme did not seem to recognize Wilson's name.) Mr. Prudhomme certainly hypnotized me; I meant to only spend an hour on the interview but was there for two hours.

One of Prudhomme's points was that people can avoid a great deal of stress if they focus on the present, instead of pining over the past or worrying about the future. This is an important Buddhism doctrine. Prudhomme recommended a book to me called The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle.

I asked one of my "go to" RAW experts if Wilson had talked about living in the moment, and Mr. Johnson kindly responded (and gave me permission to quote him:

re: living in the moment: because RAW sought to distance himself from the idioms of "New Age" and inspirational lit that tell us to "live in the moment" (and 97 other ways of working that), he seemed to couch his approach to that basic idea - an idea I find "wise" - in terms of zen, Korzybski, "Hedonic Engineering," and yogas. So, rather: philosophy that argues that we can only live in the present, so why not make it sexier, more fun, more inclusive, more interesting than yesterday's "reality"? Korzybski/zen/cannabis: all hover around the Event Level, which is pre-linguistic: try to observe w/o labels, remaining conscious that you're abstracting inevitably from the trillions of energies in the room, see if your perception of "reality" opens up something new to you. DOING, not preaching. This is RAW's pragmatism: it's easy for us to talk about living in the present, how worrying is neurotic and has about as much effect as throwing a glass of water over Niagara Falls, etc: "exercizes"! How to cop the gnosis? You actually put the book down and DO something in order to embody that state of feeling "in the moment."

Short answer: there's a crapload in RAW's oeuvre about forgiveness of one's past indiscretions/regret, the pragmatic benefits of optimism w/o being a "bliss ninny," and oodles of stuff, couched in various non-New Age sentences, that advise you to "Never Whistle While You're Pissing," which seems to me zen as all get-out.

1 comment:

Eric Wagner said...

Terrific post. Dr. Johnson seems so much more interesting than Eckhart Tolle. Perhaps Oprah will have him on.

I once contemplated an E-Prime translation of _Be Here Now_ called _Seem Here Now_.